Changes in Alcohol Consumption Among a Population Who Underwent Medical Checkups During the First Wave of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic in Japan: A Single-Center Retrospective Study

Yusaku Kajihara(1),

(1) Department of Gastroenterology, Fuyoukai Murakami Hospital, Japan
Corresponding Author


Background: Movement restrictions during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have inflicted stress and affected drinking behavior. However, limited information is available on the changes in alcohol use among the Japanese population.

Method: This retrospective study included 371 subjects aged 20–74 years who underwent medical checkups at Fuyoukai Murakami Hospital before (April 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019) and during the COVID-19 pandemic (April 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020). All data were extracted from medical records. Changes in alcohol consumption and severity were also investigated. A logistic regression model was used to identify the risk factors associated with increased drinking, and seven variables were sequentially introduced into the model—age (≤ 49 years), male sex, prior instructions for alcohol restriction, medication for lifestyle-related diseases (e.g., hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and hyperuricemia), depression or insomnia, essential workers, and smoking.

Results: The median age was 46 years, and 81.7% subjects were men. In total, 25.1% subjects increased their alcohol intake, and 24.5% subjects reduced their alcohol intake. The rates of excessive alcohol consumption (≥ 60 g ethanol per day) were 15.9% and 16.7% in the pre-COVID-19 period and during the COVID-19 pandemic, respectively. Multivariate analysis identified only age ≤ 49 years as a risk factor for increased drinking (adjusted odds ratio, 2.20; 95% confidence interval, 1.22–3.99; p = 0.009).

Conclusion: Approximately one-fourth of the subjects reported increased drinking, although the overall severity remained stable. The importance of alcohol reduction, particularly among young people, should be emphasized.


alcohol intake; COVID-19; drinking behavior; movement restriction; pandemic


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DOI: 10.24871/2232021169-173


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